Sewer lines are a vital part of every home. They’re also something we rarely think about until there is a major problem. It’s a virtual inevitability that you will eventually have a broken sewer line. Knowing the most common problems can help you prevent them and keep this potential disaster from being a worst-case scenario.
This is one of the most insidious problems that can lead to a broken sewer line. If pipes aren’t installed properly, they can have spots with a negative incline. This allows solid waste to settle, and it eventually backs up the pipes. These cases can only be fixed by replacing the portion of the line that is settled. Unfortunately, bad installation isn’t the only cause. Even when lines are laid properly, the forces under the earth can cause dirt to shift and create a settled section. This is almost impossible to predict, and it still only has the one, more-expensive-than-average solution. There is little that can be done to prevent settlement. Instead, you best defense is to note slower drainage and blockage as soon as possible. Replacing settled pipes before the problem has a chance to expand is the best way to mitigate future costs.
Like settlement, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent root infiltration. As it sounds, this is when roots from plants are able to penetrate your pipes. It is more common with clay sewer lines, but none are completely impervious to roots. Fortunately, there are solutions that don’t require digging and replacing lines. If root problems are caught early, chemical treatments can be used to kill the roots and stop the problem. If it is too advanced, lines will need to be replaced. Worse yet, root infiltration is rarely isolated. If this problem rages unchecked, you could be looking at replacing a large section of sewage.
Deterioration is an inevitable fact of sewage lines. They face a lot of corrosive chemicals. Even the water that runs through them can eventually compromise the integrity of the pipes. The good news is that there are preventative measures. First and foremost, never flush hazardous materials. Anything that isn’t approved for household use can accelerate deterioration. It can also be hazardous to your health.
Besides proper use, you can also enlist a plumber to routinely treat your pipes. Pipe linings can be renewed and extend the life of your sewage system substantially. Eventually, though, all pipes need replacing. Doing this proactively can cut costs and make the process much more manageable.
There are a lot of things that can create blocks or leaks in sewer pipes. By far the most preventable is external force. Planting trees, excavating dirt and anything else that might lead you to dig around the house can easily provide enough force to puncture a sewer line. The simple preventative measure is to make the lines before you dig. Plan around your existing lines (which may also include gas), and you will never have to face this cause of a broken sewer line.